In what Rush Limbaugh dubbed the “Trump Strategy,” Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stood by his controversial comments from a Saturday interview with Breitbart. In the interview, Huckabee criticized the Obama administration’s Iran deal, saying “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. He’s so naïve, he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.”
The explicit Holocaust reference drew immediate fire from his fellow Republican candidates, as well as the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.
Huckabee stood strongly by his comments – as Limbaugh noted, “doubling down” – tweeting out “Tell Congress to do their constitutional duty & reject the Obama-Kerry #IranDeal,” followed by “Ayatollah Khamenei’s Iranian Martyr Foundation rep: “We have manufactured missiles that allow us…to replace Israel…with a big holocaust”” and “It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region.” – Ayatollah Khamenei
As Limbaugh suggested repeatedly on his Monday show, Huckabee seems to be drawing some inspiration from Donald Trump’s leadership in the polls. Trump, of course, has made repeated headlines for explosive comments directed at illegal immigrants, Hillary Clinton, other Republican candidates, John McCain, and other targets.
Repeated declarations of Trump’s demise following his incendiary rhetoric have been followed by, instead of cratering, huge gains in the primary polls. The most recent polls show Trump as the first choice among likely Republican primary voters by such a wide margin that his totals eclipse the combined numbers of Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, the next leading candidates.
Trump’s appeal is based largely on his willingness to take on the establishment and refusal to back down. The Republican base is, as Ted Cruz made clear in a fiery speech on the floor of the Senate last week, sick and tired of being told that voting Republican will change things for the better, only to see the party capitulate again to Obama and the Democrat party.
Huckabee last week was polling at a mere 3% among likely Republican primary voters. With his massive news coverage, and extensive talk time on Limbaugh’s #1 rated radio show, it would not be a surprise to see a bounce in his numbers this week.
“The fact is when the media, Washington establishment, whoever, starts acting outraged over something a public figure said… They’re doing it now with Huckabee, by the way, over what he said about the Iran deal and Israel and ovens, which is coming up,” Limbaugh said. “The conventional wisdom is that not only are the media who are reporting this to you outraged, but so are the American people en masse, that there is universal outrage — disbelief, shock and dismay — that anybody could say anything so horrible. It’s always implied that a majority of the American people also find it outrageous, and I have always doubted that.”
Proof of the long-time opinion maker’s assertion is in the aforementioned Trump poll numbers. Trump keeps going after people, keeps attacking dearly-held presumptions, keeps not apologizing, and keeps widening his lead in the polls.
Are Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz foreshadowing? Is the “Trump Strategy” about to overtake the entire GOP field?